Monday, September 19, 2011
Farmers Flee as World’s Deadliest Volcano Rumbles - Mount Tambora, Indonesia
Bold farmers in Indonesia routinely ignore orders to evacuate the slopes of live volcanoes. But those living on Tambora have taken no chances since history’s deadliest mountain rumbled ominously to life this month. Authorities raised a volcano alert at Tambora about two weeks ago, but even when they announced the all-clear, many villagers have refused to return home until days later.
Many of the villagers have been told since their childhood about how the mountain they call home once blew apart in the largest eruption ever recorded — an event that has been widely forgotten outside their region. The 1815 blast killed 90,000 people, blackened the skies around the globe and was 10 times stronger than the Krakatoa eruption of 1883.
From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Mount Tambora (or Tamboro) is an active stratovolcano, also known as a composite volcano, on the island of Sumbawa, Indonesia. Sumbawa is flanked both to the north and south by oceanic crust, and Tambora was formed by the active subduction zone beneath it. This raised Mount Tambora as high as 4,300 m (14,100 ft), making it formerly one of the tallest peaks in the Indonesian archipelago. After a large magma chamber inside the mountain filled over the course of several decades, volcanic activity reached a historic climax in the super-colossal eruption of April 1815.
The 1815 eruption is rated 7 on the Volcanic Explosivity Index, the only such eruption since the Lake Taupo eruption in about 180 AD. With an estimated ejecta volume of 160 cubic kilometers, Tambora's 1815 outburst was the largest volcanic eruption in recorded history. The explosion was heard on Sumatra island (more than 2,000 km (1,200 mi) away). Heavy volcanic ash falls were observed as far away as Borneo, Sulawesi, Java and Maluku islands. Most deaths from the eruption were from starvation and disease, as the eruptive fallout ruined agricultural productivity in the local region. The death toll was at least 71,000 people (the most deadly eruption in recorded history), of whom 11,000–12,000 were killed directly by the eruption; the often-cited figure of 92,000 people killed is believed to be overestimated. The eruption created global climate anomalies that included the phenomenon known as "volcanic winter": 1816 became known as the "Year Without a Summer" because of the effect on North American and European weather. Agricultural crops failed and livestock died in much of the Northern Hemisphere, resulting in the worst famine of the 19th century.
During an excavation in 2004, a team of archaeologists discovered cultural remains buried by the 1815 eruption. They were kept intact beneath the 3 m (9.8 ft) deep pyroclastic deposits. At the site, dubbed the Pompeii of the East, the artifacts were preserved in the positions they had occupied in 1815.